Ernie Pyle in World War II with Author David Chrisinger
Glenn Flickinger speaks with author David Chrisinger, who walked in Ernie Pyle’s footsteps and wrote about what he discovered.
David talks about the legacy of Ernie Pyle, a renowned war correspondent during World War II. David’s book The Soldier’s Truth captures Pyle’s journey from North Africa to Paris and Okinawa, highlighting his ability to humanize soldiers and convey the harsh realities of war to the American public.
Ernie Pyle’s experiences in Paris after its liberation showcase the chaos and joy of the city’s newfound freedom. Despite challenges like the absence of electricity in their hotel room, Pyle and his companions relish the beauty of the city. The video underscores the pivotal moment when Germany counterattacked after the liberation of Paris, causing war-weariness among the Allies and prompting Ernest Hemingway to cease reporting. Hemingway, viewed as the voice of American soldiers, played a crucial role in shaping public perception.
The impact of Ernie Pyle on the public’s perception of war was profound, with Pyle giving soldiers their “15 minutes of fame” and becoming a trusted translator, spokesperson, and humanizer of the war effort. Pyle’s approach to discussing difficult truths gradually prepared the public, fostering a better understanding of the conflict.
David discusses Pyle’s career evolution, from a reporter to an aviation columnist and finally a war correspondent. Pyle’s unconventional appearance did not hinder his popularity, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s endorsement boosting his readership to 14 million. The book sheds light on the psychology and moral impact of war on Pyle, from initial fascination to combat exhaustion and a fatalistic worldview.
Ernie Pyle’s personal struggles, including dealing with his mentally ill wife, add depth to the narrative. Pyle’s discomfort with fame and his decision to cover the Pacific theater, culminating in the Okinawa invasion, further shape the narrative. The book explores the controversy surrounding the death of Ernest Hemingway on Okinawa, suggesting its potential impact on the war’s conclusion if Hemingway had been present to document the soldiers’ return.
David talks about the bridging role of Pyle’s writing between war veterans and the general public. He expresses gratitude for the shared experiences of those connected to Ernie Pyle, emphasizing the book’s significance in preserving the truth and human experiences of war.
The Veterans Breakfast Club’s Veterans Day VET-A-THON is a 12-hour online program bringing veterans from around the nation together to share their stories of service with the public. You’ll hear from veterans from every walk of life and branch of service, from World War II to the present. Guest hosts from across the globe will help share Veterans’ stories, military history, GI humor, Armed Forces trivia, and information for veteran and military families.